Hidden Gems of Northern California
By Jonny Conger
I came home to California for the holidays this year. I’ve been living in Idaho for the past four months and it was a beautiful experience. Departing from the high desert climate of Southern Idaho and being welcomed with the dense forests of Northern California instantly made me feel at home. As I travel from region to region, I am constantly being reminded that every place has its own significant type of natural beauty. That’s the beauty of this earth— variety. It’s easy to take things for granted when you see them every day. Mt. Shasta, located an hour north of my hometown Redding CA, is a prime example of this. This 14,180’ landmark, along with its’ adjacent forests, is often overlooked. I consider this the gateway to the Pacific Northwest when entering the region from the southern end. Rent a campervan from our San Francisco rental location and you’re already there!
When referring to the PNW, Oregon and Washington tend to come to mind, but many overlook Northern California’s offerings. Northern California is often associated with the San Francisco area, when in reality they are wildly different places. Mt. Shasta and it’s surrounding peaks and valleys are an outdoor mecca for anyone whether they are a hiker, mountain biker, rock climber, photographer, or just like to go for a nice drive. These undervalued gems, to name only a few include Lake Siskiyou, Burney Falls, Castle Craigs, Mossbrae Falls, Whiskeytown Lake, McCloud Falls, the Trinity Alps, Mt. Lassen National Park, and Shasta Lake.
Although I have lived in these forests my whole life, there are still many places I have yet to explore. These areas are absolutely beautiful any time of the year, another perk being the absence of the crowds and lines seen at some of the bigger attractions in California like Yosemite or Joshua Tree National Parks. When you’re looking to experience somewhere unique in California or the Pacific Northwest, keep the treasures of Northern California in mind.